Color Out of Space will be released on January 24.
By I. Simon
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I am a fan of films that are off-kilter. If a film leans enough into weirder or more absurd territory, there’s a good chance I’ll eat it up. So when I first heard about Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space right around its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, it piqued my interest. Seeing Nicolas Cage continue to take on these weirder films after the exceptional and overlooked Mandy was exciting to me, and when I saw the first trailer, I was sold. This is why it hurts me inside to report that Color Out of Space is, against all odds, a mess.
The film isn’t without merit, as Colin Stetson (who, in case you didn’t know already, composed the score for Ari Aster’s Hereditary) provides a pretty unique score, even if it doesn’t always fit within this film itself. I also liked what Nicolas Cage brought to the table, and Joely Richardson is fairly decent here.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film is a mess. The writing present is truly awful, with the dialogue being very stilted and the characters being largely underdeveloped, but the film’s biggest issue as a whole may very well be its confused tone. It has no idea whether it wants to be an art-house horror, a schlocky B-movie, or a mix of both of those things, and it fails at all of the above.
It doesn’t help that Stanley’s direction itself is fairly inept either, with the cinematography doing little more than being flashy for the sake of being flashy, providing nothing substantial for the actual story. The acting is mostly poor, the editing doesn’t feel as tight as it should be, and while I do understand that there are obviously budget constraints with a film like this, the visual effects are truly, truly horrendous and took me out of the film. If mostly everything else weren’t so poor, then maybe I’d be more forgiving.
It’s a shame to see a project that seemingly had so much potential turn out to be so poor in execution, and it brings me no joy to say that Color Out of Space is a strong contender for the biggest disappointment of the year for me. I am sure that many people will find something to love in Color Out of Space, but it unfortunately did nothing for me.
I give Color Out of Space a C-.